HORSE CARE AND HUMAN CONNECTION – WHY WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER DURING COVID-19

This past Friday, live horseracing was suspended temporarily by order of the Los Angeles County Health Department. The horseracing community understands and will always abide by government orders. But there is much more behind the scenes than most people realize.

At Santa Anita Park, our community alone is made up of an ecosystem that includes over 750 caregivers (professionally known as backstretch employees) who are employed by owners and trainers and who live in the onsite dormitories and dedicate their lives to caring for the horses we all love. For these people, Santa Anita Park is their home and that is where they are safe. On March 12, a full week before any stay-at-home orders were issued, Santa Anita Park voluntarily closed to the public for the protection of those people who call it home. Since then, we have been a self-contained, locked-down community operating under stringent and ever-evolving measures based on the best scientific guidance from health and governmental authorities to maintain social distancing and limit exposure to COVID-19 while continuing to protect the welfare of those connected to it, both human and non-human.

Our community includes over 1,700 racehorses who also call Santa Anita Park home and who require constant supervision and care – from feeding, to exercise and veterinary care – racehorses are living, breathing animals who cannot, and will not, survive without daily human contact and attention. They are not machines that can be mothballed temporarily in a factory. Further, racehorses are conditioned athletes and standing in a stall without daily exercise is detrimental to their health, safety and welfare.

Our community is also made up of the owners and trainers who employ jockeys and backstretch employees and who are responsible for providing the financial resources needed to care for the horses. The majority of the wages paid to those working on the backstretch and the financial resources to care for horses come directly from the earnings that are made when horses race. Those earnings come from the money wagered on live racing and so the cycle goes.

The reality is that live racing, even without customers on track in these times, and the income that comes from wagering is a vital part of the ecosystem and by removing it an instability is created for those in our community who can least afford it.

Simply put, by ceasing live racing operations we are jeopardizing the income stream for backstretch employees and the financial resources required to provide them and the horses they love with the care they both deserve. For our 750 backstretch employees the live racing element of the ecosystem allows Santa Anita Park to provide safe and secure housing, enables the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation to offer critical health care services at the onsite medical clinic and ensures that backstretch employees have access to no-cost critical support services. Without live racing, some may have to make a difficult choice to leave their home at Santa Anita Park, not because they want to, but because they have no other option in order to make a living. A fact that entirely defeats the objective of the stay-at-home orders.

It is through this lens that the interdependent ecosystem that makes up the unique horseracing community, whether or not it is a sport you agree with, must be viewed. Horseracing is a delicate, circular ecosystem and to destroy that now will lead to an unnecessary humanitarian and animal care crisis on top of what we are all already dealing with.

While some industries are able to cease or pause operations completely, this is simply not an option for horseracing. Now, perhaps more than ever in these difficult times, we must be mindful of our responsibility to prioritize the safety and well-being of the horses and those who care for them.

LA County Health Department Shuts Down Santa Anita

Some 1,000 workers and 1,700 horses at the Arcadia, California track in limbo as COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow in the US.

Thumbnail for LA County Health Department Shuts Down Santa Anita

By: LA Times |

SANTA ANITA racing was shut down just before Friday racing was about to begin by the Los Angeles County Health Department. The Santa Anita Derby was scheduled for next Saturday, April 4.

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES story by By JOHN CHERWA 

Thoroughbred racing at Santa Anita Park was shut down shortly before its first post Friday by the Los Angeles County Health Department in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move came after a frantic effort by the Arcadia track to stay open for racing before no crowds with only essential personnel on site. No return date was announced.

“We’re going to continue training and are in constant dialogue with the health department to see if there is anything we can do,” said Aidan Butler, acting executive director of California racing for the Stronach Group. “The health department feels for our plight, and we look forward to working with them to find a solution that is best for everyone.”

Read More here.

UPDATE ON RACING AT SANTA ANITA – UPDATED MARCH 31

RACING CANCELED

COVID-19 Health & Safety Update

At 1/ST & Santa Anita Park, the health and safety of you, our guest, is our top priority.

UPDATE ON RACING AT SANTA ANITA – UPDATED MARCH 27

In accordance with instructions received from Los Angeles County Health Department, Santa Anita Park will temporarily close for live racing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We apologize for the late notice affecting today’s racing program, but Santa Anita is abiding by the instructions issued this morning by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.

At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community is our top priority.  At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park. This measure is being taken in response to a mandate from LA County officials.

At Santa Anita Park, there are over 1,700 horses stabled who require daily care. That care is provided by the 750 backstretch team members, most who live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and to closed all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.

We will continue to work with authorities to familiarize them with the protocols which have been put in place to protect the health and safety of those who work with the horses and the horses themselves.

We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.

UPDATE ON RACING AT SANTA ANITA – UPDATED MARCH 28

In accordance with instructions received from Los Angeles County Health Department, Santa Anita Park will temporarily close for live racing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We apologize for the late notice affecting today’s racing program, but Santa Anita is abiding by the instructions issued this morning by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.

At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community is our top priority.  At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park. This measure is being taken in response to a mandate from LA County officials.

At Santa Anita Park, there are over 1,700 horses stabled who require daily care. That care is provided by the 750 backstretch team members, most who live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and to closed all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.

We will continue to work with authorities to familiarize them with the protocols which have been put in place to protect the health and safety of those who work with the horses and the horses themselves.

We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.

CLASSY IMPROBABLE TAKES ON ‘NOW HORSE’ KERSHAW IN SUNDAY’S $75,000 SANTANA MILE AT SANTA ANITA

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 26, 2020)–A Grade I winner at two and the beaten favorite in last year’s Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert’s classy Improbable heads a field of seven older horses in Sunday’s $75,000 Santana Mile at Santa Anita.

While Improbable has been idle since well beaten in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile here Nov. 2, Phil D’Amato’s speedy Kershaw is the “now” commodity, as he enters Sunday’s Santana Mile fresh off of a big second condition allowance mile win on Feb. 23.

IMPROBABLE

Owner:  China Horse Club International, Ltd., SF Racing, LLC and Winstar Farm, LLC

Trainer:  Bob Baffert

An unbeaten winner of the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity in December, 2018, this 4-year-old City Zip colt tasted defeat for the first time in his fourth start, when second beaten a neck in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 16, 2019.  Second to Omaha Beach in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, he was then fifth as the 4-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2019.  Favored in eight out of his 10 career starts, including a much troubled fourth place finish two starts back in the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby, Improbable has trained well for his return following a near five month absence and will be handled by Drayden Van Dyke, who has guided him to four wins from five assignments, dating back to his debut here on Sept. 29, 2018.  The leading money earner in the field with $919,520, Improbable is two for three at a flat mile and he has an overall mark of 10-4-2-0.

KERSHAW

Owner:  Jay & Julie Manoogian
Trainer:  Phil D’Amato

In his most impressive win to date, this 5-year-old gelding by Run Away and Hide blasted off to a big gate to wire one mile allowance win on Feb. 23, winning by 3 ½ lengths while ridden for the first time by Abel Cedillo.  Claimed out of a 13 ¼ length one mile maiden $40,000 claimer 11 starts back on July 28, 2018, Kershaw appears ready for his first stakes assignment in what will be his 15th career start.  In terms of pace however, Cedillo may have his hands full if he again opts to gun for the early lead, as Baffert’s Ax Man, who will be making his second start off a long layoff, is extremely quick early.

THE $75,000 SANTANA MILE WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 8 of 9  Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT

  1. Two Thirty Five–Flavien Prat–124
  2. Heartfullofstars–Iggy Puglisi–120
  3. Improbable–Drayden Van Dyke–124
  4. Synthesis–Rafael Bejarano–120
  5. Lord Guinness–Ruben Fuentes–120
  6. Ax Man–Mike Smith–124
  7. Kershaw–Abel Cedillo–122

Santa Anita Daily Results and Activity

Early Entries

Sunday, March 29 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $57,000
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $32,000
Race 3 Claiming – $12,500 $19,000
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight $55,000
Race 5 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 6 Claiming – $50,000 $43,000
Race 7 Claiming – $35,000 $33,000
Race 8 Santana Mile S. $75,000
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $57,000

Final Entries

Saturday, March 28
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $57,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $55,000
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $57,000
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $20,000
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $57,000
Race 6 Claiming – $25,000 $25,000
Race 7 Santa Ana S. $100,000
Race 8 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 9 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $32,000

RED-HOT OPUS WON SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN SATURDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 SANTA ANA STAKES AS A FIELD OF NINE OLDER FILLIES & MARES GO 1 ¼ MILES ON TURF

RED-HOT OPUS WON SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN SATURDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 SANTA ANA STAKES AS A FIELD OF NINE OLDER FILLIES & MARES GO  1 ¼ MILES ON TURF 

     ARCADIA, Calif. (March 25, 2020)–In what will be her initial stakes assignment, Little Red Feather Racing’s Opus Won, who has won two allowance races in a row and has won three out of her last four starts, heads a field of nine older fillies and mares at a mile and one quarter on turf in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained by Richard Baltas, Opus Won will be facing the likes of Richard Mandella’s Dogtag, a graded stakes placed filly when based in New York, Phil D’Amato’s multiple graded stakes placed Tiny Tina, graded stakes placed Super Patriot, sharp recent allowance winner Out of Balance and others in what shapes up as a competitive renewal of the Santa Ana, which will be run for the 53rd time.

OPUS WON

Owner:  Little Red Feather Racing
Trainer:  Richard Baltas

A 4-year-old California-bred filly by Eddington, she comes off a pair of 1 1/8 mile allowance wins in which she sat close to the early lead versus open company on Jan. 1 and Feb. 2.  In her most recent win, she earned a 90 Beyer Speed figure, a career best and the best last-out Beyer in the Santa Ana field.  Although she’ll be trying a mile and one quarter for the first time, Saturday’s Santa Ana will feature a hillside start, which should serve to mitigate the effects of the extra furlong.  With an overall mark of 10-4-2-1, she’ll be trying stakes competition for the first time.

DOGTAG

Owner:  LNJ Foxwoods
Trainer:  Richard Mandella

Originally based with trainer Chad Brown in New York, this grey filly by War Front made her Southern California debut two starts back in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17, finishing 10th, beaten less than six lengths.  Idle since, she resurfaced in a one mile turf allowance here on March 8, finishing a close second at 7-2.  A two-time minor turf stakes winner, once over a yielding course at Saratoga going a mile and one sixteenth in August, 2018 and again over a good turf at Pimlico on May 17, 2019, Dogtag will no doubt vie for favoritism with a recent race to her credit.

TINY TINA

Owner:  A Venneri Racing, Inc. and Anthony Fanticola
Trainer:  Phil D’Amato

Competitive in all three of her graded turf stakes assignments at the current Winter Meet, this 5-year-old mare by Paddy O’ Prado was second beaten a nose three starts back in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel on Dec. 28 at 1 1/8 miles, was second, beaten two lengths in the Grade III Astra at a mile and one half Jan. 19, and was most recently fifth (dq’d to eighth), beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Grade II Buena Vista at one mile on Feb. 22.  With an overall mark of 19-5-4-3, Tiny Tina seeks her first stakes win and would be flattered by a lively early pace in the Santa Ana.

SUPER PATRIOT

Owner:  Little Red Feather Racing & Richard Baltas
Trainer:  Richard Baltas

Supplemented at entry time for $2,000, she was claimed seven starts back for $35,000 on June 8, 2019.  A 5-year-old California-bred mare by Unusual Heat, Super Patriot has two wins, as many seconds and one third place finish from six starts for Baltas.  With only one off the board effort for her new connections, an eighth place finish in her most recent start, the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes on Feb. 22, Super Patriot, who was second, beaten three quarters of a length two starts back in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 20, rates a solid chance in what will be her 28th career start.

OUT OF BALANCE

Owner: Amerman Racing, LLC
Trainer:  David Hofmans

After bobbling at the break, this 4-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy recovered to rally from off the pace to take a mile and one eighth turf allowance here on Feb. 17.  Well beaten in her only other graded stakes assignment, the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17, 2019, she has two wins from 15 overall starts.  An Amerman Racing homebred, she’s out of the multiple Grade I winning Balance, who’s two Grade I victories came on dirt.

THE GRADE III SANTA ANA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 7 of 9  Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Super Patriot–Abel Cedillo–120
  2. Streak of Luck–Geovanni Franco–120
  3. Out of Balance–Aaron Gryder–120
  4. Lostintranzlation–Brice Blanc–120
  5. Dogtag–Umberto Rispoli–122
  6. Meal Ticket–Tiago Pereira–120
  7. Tiny Tina–Flavien Prat–120
  8. Siberian Iris–Rafael Bejarano–122
  9. Opus Won–Mario Gutierrez–120

Santa Anita Daily Results and Activity

Early Entries

Saturday, March 28 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $57,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $55,000
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $57,000
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $20,000
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $57,000
Race 6 Claiming – $25,000 $25,000
Race 7 Santa Ana S. $100,000
Race 8 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 9 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $32,000

Final Entries

Friday, March 27
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $55,000
Race 2 Claiming – $10,000 $20,000
Race 3 Claiming – $32,000 $35,000
Race 4 Claiming – $32,000 $35,000
Race 5 Claiming – $12,500 $18,000
Race 6 Claiming – $35,000 $33,000
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $55,000
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $55,000